Teeth whitening is one of the most popular cosmetic dental procedures in the United States. According to Consumer Reports, consumers spent $343 million on at home tooth whitening kits in 2008 alone. One available home whitening method is the Crest Whitestrips kit. The kit includes flexible strips that are coated with peroxide. Crest promises you can see whiter teeth in just three days of wearing the strips but as with all peroxide products, there are some dangers with wearing Crest Whitestrips.
Tooth and Gum Sensitivity
According to the Crest Whitestrips website, extensive clinical and consumer testing has shown the peroxide is safe when used as directed. However, teeth and gum sensitivity may develop temporarily when using this product. Avoid using the strips after brushing your teeth or for a few days after your dental appointments, when your teeth and gums are more sensitive. The website recommends using the strips every second day if the problem develops and to discontinue use altogether if the sensitivity persists.
Using Whitestrips with Cavities or Periodontal Disease
Crest advises against using Whitestrips if you have unfilled cavities or are suffering from periodontal disease or gingivitis. An unfilled cavity or mouth disease can allow the peroxide to penetrate the tooth more easily, which can lead to pain as well as possible decay on the inside of the tooth. If you have gingivitis, peroxide may cause more damage to your sensitive gums.
Color Differences between Real Teeth and Dental Work
Crest Whitestrips only whiten natural teeth. If you have caps, crowns, veneers, fillings or dentures, you will not be able to whiten these. Using the Whitestrips may lead to a noticeable color difference between your real teeth and your dental work. Similarly, using Whitestrips while wearing braces will only whiten the parts of your teeth not covered by braces. When the braces are removed, your teeth will have visible lines left on them. Additionally, the braces themselves could oxidize or change color from the peroxide.
As with any product, Crest recommends reading the product label on the Whitestrips kit to ensure you are not allergic to any of the ingredients. If you have existing allergies to any listed ingredient, speak to your dentist about alternative tooth whitening methods.
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